July 31, 2006


while I don't speak Arabic or Hebrew, I am completely fluent in the language of petroleum.

You don't need a degree in geology to know that there's no oil in Israel, Palestine or Lebanon. (A few weeks ago, I was joking around with Afif Safieh, the Palestinian Authority's ambassador to the US, asking him why he was fighting to have a piece of the only place in the Middle East without oil. Well, there's no joking now.)

Let's begin with the facts we can agree on:
the berserkers are winning. Crazies discredited only a month ago are now in charge, guys with guns bigger than brains and souls smaller still. Here's a list:

1. Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, whose approval rating in June was down to a Bush level of 35%. His poll numbers among Israeli voters have now more than doubled (to 78%) as he does his bloody John Wayne "cleanin' out the varmints" routine. But let's not forget: Olmert can't pee without George Bush's approval. Bush could stop Olmert tomorrow. He hasn't.

2. Hezbollah, a political party rejected overwhelmingly by Lebanese voters sickened by their support of Syrian occupation, holds a mere 14 seats out of 128 in the nation's parliament. Hezbollah was facing demands by both Lebanon's non-Shia majority and the UN to lay down arms; few Lebanese would now suggest taking away their rockets. But let's not forget: without Iran, Hezbollah is just a fundamentalist street gang. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could stop Hezbollah's rockets tomorrow. He hasn't.

3. Hamas, just days before it kidnapped Israeli soldiers, was facing certain political defeat at the hands of a Palestinian majority ready to accept the existence of Israel as proposed in a manifesto for peace talks penned by influential Palestinian prisoners. Now the Hamas rocket brigade is back in charge. But let's not forget: Hamas is broke and a joke without the loot and authority of Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah could stop these guys tomorrow. He hasn't.

Why not? Why haven't those we laughably call the "leaders" of the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia called back their delinquent spawn, cut off their allowances and grounded them for six months?

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